With only 75 points up for grabs as the MotoGP season reaches the final three rounds, tensions between the two main title contenders have reached boiling point.
Rookie Marc Marquez is already 43 points ahead going into the Australian round at Phillip Island and it looks like even the most valiant effort from current World Champion Jorge Lorenzo won’t be enough to see him retain his title.
Hopefully we will get to see a fair battle between the two, following on from last week’s panel bashing antics at Sepang.
After last week’s race the strain was clearly showing as Lorenzo once again gave away more points to his title contender. At the press conference Lorenzo launched into a tirade of criticism aimed squarely at Marquez and his riding tactics, blaming him for the contact that occurred on more than one occasion. As laid back as ever, Marquez simply grinned through it all, even the point deduction from the Aragon clash with his team-mate doing nothing to dampen his happy-go-lucky persona.
Phillip Island favours neither the Honda nor the Yamaha, instead it is renowned as a circuit where the rider dominates the result rather than the machine. One thing is for sure, Lorenzo will not go down without a fight. And fight he must. With next week’s round at Motegi traditionally favouring the Hondas, Lorenzo realistically needs nothing less than a win in Australia to keep the dream of the 2013 title alive.
Rumours of Casey Stoner making a wildcard entry to replace the injured Stefan Bradl at LCR Honda appear to have been just that, rumours. Although it would have been quite a spectacle to see how Stoner fared at his favourite circuit in front of home fans.
The Moto2 championship is lining up to be another thriller, the racing so far this season has put the premier class in the shade. Pol Espargaro has been slowly cutting into the championship lead of Scott Redding which currently stands at 9 points. Redding needs to get a decent result in the bag to give him some breathing space for the remaining rounds. Easier said than done considering Espargaro won last year’s round at Phillip Island by a dizzying 17 seconds. The fact that the long flowing nature of Phillip Island does not punish Redding’s height and weight disadvantage as much as other circuits hopefully means we will see a top notch scrap at the front.
It’s lining up to be a cracker and if the rain clouds blow in like they have so many times in the past it’ll add another element of unpredictability to the mix.